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This is the best idea I’ve ever had. Best thing I’ve ever done. Who cares what Sam says? What does he know anyway? What’s he ever done? Just because I’ve never met her doesn’t mean this isn’t perfect. I know her. Better than Sam knows me too. After all this time – how could he say that? We’ve known each other, what, twenty, twenty-five years? Since St. Peters anyway. In the playground when we lined up to go in my first day, all of us in alphabetical order.

But – no. Concentrate. Find her house, knock on her door or ring her bell, whatever she has, step back, start juggling. Simple. Perfect. Just like she said in that message. I suppose I could shout ‘surprise’ or something like that. But no. That would be tacky. I should be more casual. Find her house. Knock on her door. Say, hi Susan, it’s me. I’m here. Or something like that. Something simple. Normal. I’m sure she’ll laugh. It’ll work perfectly.

What did she say again? You know, I want a guy who’d do anything for me. Juggle knives for me. It was a while ago, but she’ll remember. ‘Course she will. It wasn’t just some throwaway comment. She meant it. There was that LOL after, but that was just a release. A nervous laugh, trying to play it down. How many times have I read it? Looked at it again. I don’t even have to remember it, although I do. ‘Course I do. It’s not like Sam and Claire.  He forgets stuff for her all the time. All I need to do is scroll down, click and I have it all. Likes. Dislikes. Desires. Music.

Right. Turn that off now. Concentrate. Where’s the map gone? Third roundabout. This is the second. There was definitely one before and then off the bypass. First right then left down – what was the street? What was after that? A park? Then knock on the door, step back, start juggling. I’ve got the directions. It’ll be fine. I’ll just stop.

Okay, so – Jesus, that’s a big lorry, better give him some space. Knock on her door or ring her bell. Step back. Start juggling. Simple. Can’t forget that. And if she’s not there I’ll just wait in the car till I see her come home. She doesn’t work Saturdays, though she did say she sometimes does the mornings. I trust her. She’ll look like her avatar. ‘Course she will.

Jesus! Some people. Never look when they cross the road. Come off it! How was that my fault? Am I in control of your eyes? God. Just like Sam. Never looking where he’s going. He’s just jealous. He’s never done anything like this. And look where he is now. Knock, step back, juggle. I may be a romantic, but I’d rather be that than him, all bitter. Maybe I should forgive him, but – no, I don’t care what he says. I would never’ve said that to him.

So, second left. Knock, say hi, step back, juggle. Maybe say hi after the juggle. What number was it? I’ll just slow down. Take my time – go past! It’s not as if there isn’t enough space. You think beeping’s going to get me to move? Once is enough. Christ!

Here we are. One-three-eight. One forty. One forty-two. One-four-six. Hold on. Did I miss one? Must be down that little snicket or alley or whatever. Round the back or something. One-four-six. One-four-eight. One fifty. There it is. One fifty-two. Is there space? No yellow lines. Just there. I won’t block anyone in.

Right, any signs of life? I should just get out and check. Knock on her door. If she’s not in, come back and wait in the car. I may look like a copper or a stalker, but what can I do? I’m too early. She’s probably still asleep. I should’ve thought about this more, but Sam drove me to it. Where am I going to put them? Up my shirt? And then do what? Pull them out when she answers the door? I can just see her face. And after all those months of chatting too. That would be the end of it. Completely. I could just hold them against my legs. But no. Imagine it. Some bloke walking up to a house with three machetes in his hands. What does that say? I must have a bag around somewhere. Ouch, that’s sharp. Better be careful. I’ll suck it better. God, my hands are sweaty.

Shit! Is that her? Has she seen me? No. Thank God. That would’ve spoiled the surprise, and what would I have looked like, bloody finger and everything, but no – hold on. Does it need to be a surprise? Surely the knives are enough. I could knock, say hello. We could go out for a meal, have a snuggle – no, that’s what Sam and Claire have, I’m not them. A kiss maybe. Something like that. And then I could tell her to go to the window for a minute then go outside, get the knives and perform for her. I wouldn’t even need a bag. And I’d show her I meant everything, show her I’m the guy for her, the guy who’d do anything for her. Juggle knives for her. She’ll say she’d only been joking but laugh anyway. I’m sure she would. She’ll love it. It doesn’t matter how I do it, just that I do it.

I can’t stay in this car any longer. People’ll start to stare, think I’m a kiddie fiddler or something. There must be a bag somewhere. Behind the passenger seat. That’ll do. Perfect. I can’t see anyone, but that doesn’t mean she’s not there. Stick to the plan. If I don’t do it now I never will and I don’t want any I told you so from Sam. I’m not going back to him my head down. I’m not going to give him the satisfaction. And if she’s not there I’ll just come back later. I’ll wait. I’ve practised with balls but it’s the same principle. She’ll love it. And I’ll show Sam. It’ll be perfect. She’ll see she means everything to me. This is the most romantic thing I’ve ever done.

Ring her door bell. Say hi, I’m here.

Look. She’s smiling. She’s surprised. She’s not exactly like her avatar, but who is? I’ll show her now. Yes. This is going to be great. Open the bag. I’ll be the guy who juggles knives for you. Look. Three knives. And not normal ones either. Machetes. Ready. Okay, that wasn’t meant to happen, but don’t worry. It was just a glitch. I know what I’m doing. It’s just a little bit of blood. I can do this. I’m not Sam. I’m the guy who’ll do anything for you.

Here we go.

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